Gongol.com Archives: November 2009
Brian Gongol

November 8, 2009

Business and Finance How long can America operate with a weak dollar?
Not forever, to be sure. There are those, like the analysts at Charles Schwab, who think that inflation and a weak US dollar are only long-term problems. But Allan Meltzer thinks the dominoes are being lined up for a colossal problem in the not-so-long term. Meltzer is no idiot -- he's the author of "A History of the Federal Reserve" and an economist who's been speaking up about the potential inflation catastrophe ahead for some time. And here's just a single metric that ought to make the problem a little more clear: The US government has built up a Federal debt of $12 trillion. The World Bank estimates that the entire world economy is worth about $57 trillion a year. So, somehow, the US needs to figure out how to get control of a debt burden that's not only just shy of its own annual income, but also one that's presently more than 20% of the entire global economy -- and growing by more than a trillion dollars a year. There is, in short, only so much money in the world to begin with, and if we're siphoning off an annual deficit that's bigger than all but the top ten world economies, who's going to be available to do the lending? The borrowing has to stop before expensive assets have to be put up as collateral -- as is starting to happen in Britain, where a bankrupt automotive firm has been sold to a Chinese group. But America may be too busy making celebrities out of reality-television actors to notice.

Socialism Doesn't Work How a "public option" for property insurance has put Florida's entire government at risk
By introducing a "public option" for property insurance in a state where massive property damage is a regular occurrence (thanks to hurricanes), the state of Florida is sitting on a financial time bomb that could absolutely destroy the state's economy and render its government bankrupt overnight. Food for thought in a country whose lower house of the legislature has just passed a huge "public option" for health insurance. In related news, the government of Venezuela, which has promised much and paid for little, is in the midst of taking hotels and other property on a whim.

Computers and the Internet Microsoft Windows through the years

Science and Technology A very carefully-controlled skyscraper demolition
Instead of blowing up an old building, how about demolishing it from the bottom up, one floor at a time?

Weather and Disasters Hurricane Ida aims for New Orleans
And we had been doing so well this year with such a quiet Atlantic hurricane season...

Science and Technology Science fights back against the conspiracy nuts

Humor and Good News Can you tell one font from another?
Specifically, what differences would arise if the highly-regarded Helvetica were replaced with the less-beloved Arial?

Business and Finance Should Berkshire Hathaway shareholders vote for a stock split?

Broadcasting Podcast: What should journalists be free to say when they're off the clock?

Broadcasting Podcast: Why we need more inducement prizes

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